by Mike DePilla
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Well, I thought I was done writing about Johnny Damon. But the word from the internet today is that the Sox are now in the bidding, along with the Tigers, for the octopus-loving outfielder. The Braves and Rays are reportedly out of the bidding and it is now down to the two division rivals.
Before anyone gets too excited, this could mean one of two things. One, the Sox are finalists for Damon, who, if signed, would end much of the hand-wringing over the Sox so-so offense. Or two, Scott Boras is just trying to force the Tigers to increase their offer and is using the Sox as a patsy.
First of all, don't believe any of the $$$ amounts being reported. Scott Boras has made his living on feeding inflated, sometimes outright made up contract offers to the media to create a higher bar to bid over. This works so well because reporters are desperate for a scoop and rush to publish any bits of hearsay, hoping to be fans' first look for inside info. Boras knows this well, and uses the situation to legitimize rumors that are often created out of thin air to serve his own self-interest.
So when you hear that Tigers' owner Mike Ilich has reportedly authorized a two year, $14 million contract for Damon, take it with a grain of salt. It's not out of the question, as the Tigers are the team most likely to go overboard for the guy, and they've gone gaga over pricey Boras clients before. Magglio Ordonez, Ivan Rodriguez and Kenny Rogers come to mind as over-market signings in Detroit, and they're all Boras clients.
But that dollar amount is a significant jump from the previous offers we've heard, the most recent of which was a partially-deferred $4 million from the Braves. Going to two years for Damon isn't crazy. Jumping up from less than $4 million (present day money) straight to $7 million is, and it reeks of Boras manipulation. Maybe he figures if he could just add the threat of the Sox, he could get an extra million or two.
If it is true the Tigers have offered 2 years/$14 million, you can probably forget about the Sox landing Damon. Jerry Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams' history suggests they are not going to go crazy in a bidding war for a Boras free agent. If, however, the number is exaggerated (or an outright fabrication), then count the Sox in as a maybe.
The Tigers are still the considerable favorite here, but at least it's getting interesting.
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